Intracoronary thrombus formation causes focal vasoconstriction of epicardial arteries in patients with coronary artery disease.
BACKGROUND Experimental studies have demonstrated that intracoronary platelet aggregation and thrombus formation may induce marked vasoconstriction of epicardial arteries with endothelial injury.
METHODS AND RESULTS To examine the effects of intracoronary thrombus formation on coronary vasomotor tone of human epicardial arteries in vivo, we studied 15 patients who developed intracoronary thrombi adherent to the guide wire during balloon dilatation. Epicardial artery luminal area was evaluated by quantitative coronary angiography proximal and distal to the site of intracoronary thrombus formation and in a reference vessel before and after thrombus formation as well as after intracoronary injection of 0.2-0.3 mg nitroglycerin. All artery segments distal to the site of thrombus formation showed vasoconstriction with a luminal area reduction of -27.4 +/- 17.1% (p less than 0.001), whereas proximal vessel segments and reference vessels not manipulated during percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty did not demonstrate any significant luminal area changes during thrombus formation. Angiographic measurements after advancing the guide wire with the adherent thrombus (performed in six of the 15 patients) revealed in all patients that vasoconstriction did develop at a new site distal to the thrombus persistence of the initial vasoconstriction now residing proximal to the thrombus. Thus, there was a sequential association between thrombus formation and subsequent distal vasoconstriction. Intracoronary injection of nitroglycerin abolished the thrombus-induced vasoconstriction. No significant luminal area changes were observed in 20 patients without angiographic evidence of intracoronary thrombus formation.
CONCLUSIONS Intracoronary thrombus formation during percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty causes focal vasoconstriction of epicardial arteries in patients with coronary artery disease. Although caution must be advised in the extrapolation of this phenomenon, which was observed in a manipulated artery during coronary angioplasty, the vasoconstrictor response to intracoronary thrombus formation in vivo may play an important role in the dynamic mechanisms of acute coronary heart disease syndromes.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association